| FIG 22nd General
31 May and 4 June 1999
Sun City, South Africa
Appendix to item 7: President's report
1.1 The last year has been dominated by one event - the opening of the FIG Office. A great deal of work went into the preparation for this, details of which are given in the Secretary-Generals report (agenda item 8). I am delighted to say that things have gone extremely smoothly and I am confident that the services that will be delivered in the future by the FIG Office will greatly enhance the capabilities of the Federation. I wish in particular to thank and pay tribute to our Danish colleagues and especially to Den danske Landinspektørforening (DdL) and the Danish National Survey and Cadastre (KMS) for their support.
1.2 Although the opening of the FIG Office was a major focus of attention, the Bureau has continued with its other work, for instance developing its relations with UN agencies. A review of these activities over the past few years is given as an annex to this report. The appointment of Ian Williamson as Director, FIG-UN Liaison will greatly assist further progress as will be seen from the many activities envisaged in his accompanying report (agenda item 11). A high point of these activities is the visit which he, together with Vice President Robert Foster and the Director of the FIG Office Markku Villikka, will make to UN Headquarters in Nairobi on their way to this Working Week when it is hoped that they will meet the Executive Director, UNCHS and UNEP, Dr Klaus Töpfer. Immediately prior to this visit Markku Villikka will participate in a session of the UN Commission on Human Settlements (the first time FIG has been represented at this event) and the accompanying series of Partners Dialogues; and he will also help prepare a new UNCHS/FIG Memorandum of Understanding.
1.3 The Bureau has also been exploring the possibility of signing a similar agreement with FAO. After long discussions, it appears that FAO has a different policy concerning relations with international non-government organisations, the details of which are currently awaited and will be reported verbally to the General Assembly.
1.4 With some reluctance the Bureau decided that progress in IUSM no longer warranted the resources that had been allocated to the Union. Details are given under agenda item 13. Other bilateral arrangements, for instance with FIABCI, CIB and ICEC are however working well and are reported at agenda item 12.
1.5 Feed-back from FIG98 has been very positive. One of the many pleasant events was the lunch for Honorary Presidents and Honorary Members, a meeting that showed how important tradition is within FIG and how long the good feelings of such events can last.
1.6 As noted in the Congress Directors report FIG98 in effect made neither profit nor loss. We are all extremely grateful to John Leonard and his team for the excellent work that they did in running FIG98. We are also grateful to the past commission chairs who helped to ensure the success of the event, and to The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for hosting the congress and for its support over the last six years. Without that support and the willingness of the RICS to underwrite our reasonable expenses the Bureau could have achieved little or nothing.
1.7 During the last year we have received no requests to identify consultants in accordance with the protocol agreed by the General Assembly. We did however receive a request from the UN to advertise a post on our home page and this we did. Markku Villikka has supervised a substantial revision and up-grading of the FIG home page which is becoming a very important means for the Federation to communicate with its members and the wider public. Visits to the page are currently running at about 1,000 a month. The registration of our own domain name (http:/www.fig.net), both for the home page and for e-mails, will make us even more accessible.
1.8 On-going work within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to liberalise trade in services has been followed closely by FIG. At the end of 1998 the WTO working party on professional services published disciplines to facilitate the mutual recognition of qualifications and the cross-border provision of services within the accountancy professions. At the time of writing this report the Bureau is consulting with Stig Enemark, chair of FIGs task force on mutual recognition of qualifications, to decide how best to renew our contacts with the working party and determine whether it now plans to extend its work to surveyors; and I hope to have more to report verbally to the General Assembly. FIG will also be commenting on a new International Standards Organisation (ISO) work item for the certification and qualification of personnel in the geomatics sector. This has been assigned to a working group of ISO TC211, on which FIG is represented; and progress will be monitored by the FIG task force on standards.
1.9 The Bureau has launched a major task force under Vice President Tom Kennie that will review the whole question of FIGs governance from whether we want to elect individual members to the Bureau through the frequency of General Assemblies to whether we have the right commission structure, especially in the context of the FIG definition of a surveyor, and what FIG can and should achieve. An initial discussion paper is circulated at agenda item 20. It is vitally important that member associations make their views known to the task force and that their delegates participate in the break out sessions in Sun City that will debate specific aspects of the discussion paper. In Brighton I met over 40 Presidents of member associations or their representatives to encourage them to take more active participation in such debates. I plan to repeat this exercise in Sun City. The Bureau may have the responsibility for leading the Federation but it needs the active involvement of all member associations if it is to deliver what they want.
1.10 This is my final report to the General Assembly and in November the UK Bureau will hand over its responsibilities to the Americans. We all wish them well. I have been privileged to lead a dedicated team and I would like to express publicly my thanks and acknowledge my debt of gratitude to all members of the Bureau. I say a very special thanks to Jane Woolley, our UK Bureau Director, and to Markku Villikka, the Director of the new FIG Office, for their most excellent support. I would also like to thank all members of ACCO; all members of task forces, especially their chairs; our Director of FIG-UN Liaison, Ian Williamson; and the Directors of our Permanent Institutions.
1.11 The UK Bureau, like its predecessors, has sought to work in partnership with all members of the Federation, to interpret what it has seen as their needs and to deliver a service in which their requirements are paramount. I hope that when the History of FIG is updated our contribution will be seen to have lived up to the high standards of our predecessors.
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